4 out of 4 stars
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MsTri sat down to write
about a book that was such a delight.
It had a lot of rhymes,
rhymes about crimes.
Her amusement rarely reaches such height.
Lawless limericks and punny (the author's word) poems and quirky cartoons, oh my! Such are the writings included in Dixie J. Whitted's hilarious collection, Crime Rhymes: From Bad to Verse. Inside of this short tome are over two-hundred poems - mostly limericks with a few two to four stanza type rhymes - and one short story, all about crime.
A quick glance at my reviews will show that I love murder and mayhem-based stories, so this collection was like human catnip for me; I got a big kick out of reading dozens of mini-CTMH tales. The book starts off with approximately 60 pages of poems pertaining to crime, encompassing everything from thievery to forgery to murder. Aside from the short story that ends the tome, this was my favorite part of the collection. Many of the murderous poems were about uxoricide and mariticide (murder of one's wife or husband, respectively), with the wives in question being harridans. I especially liked the ones that involved famous people, real or fictional. The following limerick, for instance, involves the sparring couple from Gone With the Wind (which also just so happens to be my favorite movie):
Following the general crime section were two chapters of more poetry, but with specific slants to them. The first chapter had poems starring Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and the rest of their cronies. While I do like Holmes well enough, this section was my least favorite part; I just didn't find the poems to be as engaging. The chapter that followed starred Lizzie Borden, her parents, and the other people surrounding her. While slightly more interesting than Sherlock's section, I still wasn't too enamored of the pieces in this part. The tome ended with a very short story (14 Kindle pages) titled The Adventure of the Stainless Spinster. This tale involved a discussion between Holmes and Watson wherein Holmes is defending Borden's acquittal to a befuddled Watson. Even though I wasn't too keen on the previous two sections, I thought this was a wonderful way in which to tie the previous two chapters together. Also, I've always been fascinated by the Borden case, so I was completely entranced by this yarn. I didn't know all the minute details of the murder, but the author has obviously done her research, and she pieced together a well-written and logical piece, making arguments that gave me pause time and again. I've never read an actual Holmes book, so I don't know how well Ms. Whitted replicated Mr. Doyle's writings, but I do know that I very much enjoyed the story. The partners' speech also convinced me that I was listening in on a conversation taking place at 221B Baker Street, London in the late 1800s.“I’LL NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN …”
Scarlett’s kidnappers wrote, “Come and get ‘er!”
And they added, “The sooner, the better!”
Rhett might have complied
And recovered his bride,
But Rhett’s setter had eaten the letter …
Sprinkled throughout the tome were illustrations that I believe to be hand-drawn by the author. They reminded me of the style used in the cartoon, The Far Side, and I found them to be a welcome addition to the book. In fact, there were times that looking at the picture cleared up confusion as to the content of the relevant poem or confirmed the pun behind the ditty. For instance, one of the poems reads,
Even though I did "get" the limerick just by reading it, the included picture of a burglar holding a feline over his bag made it all the funnier. With that being said, there were still a few poems that went over my head, but it didn't decrease my overall enjoyment factor any.PURR-FECT CRIME
O’Neal reassured Miss MacFee,
“Your jewels don’t interest me.”
As he stuffed her Maltese
Into his valise,
He said, “I’m a cat burglar, you see.”
Since most of this tome was comprised of poetry, grammar wasn't much of an issue, but I did notice a few missteps in the short story, all of them having to do with commas. With that being said, many of the placements, or lack thereof, could be a matter of preference rather than hard and fast rules, so I will not mark the whole book down due to what I perceive as very minor "errors".
With all things considered, I'm pleased to give Crime Rhymes 4 out of 4 stars. Without hesitation, I highly recommend this collection to fans of poetry (especially limericks), readers who are interested in Sherlock Holmes and/or Lizzie Borden, and those who like short bites of literary crime.
Her review all done,
MsTri put her hair in a bun,
kicked back on the sofa,
said, "Well, that's over",
and looked up Ms. Whitted's next one.
Crime Rhymes: From Bad to Verse
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